Tonight while scrolling through my facebook feed I came upon this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf.
I immediately started to cry. This picture sums up our industry. What we are made of. Integrity. Humility. Courage. Strength. Passion. Pride. Dedication. Community. Adversity.Love. and most of all HOPE.
Reading the posts of the ones who have lost everything to the fires has lit a fire in me to share their story with the world.
I’ve discussed with multiple people, that if this fire had happened in a more urban setting where thousands of houses or so called “acres of houses” resided, that this would be a national headline story that would be plastered on news channels 24/7. Instead it happened in rural America where there aren’t as many houses but what many Americans don’t realize–is that the “houses” in this setting are cows-horses-sheep-etc.
I believe the uninformed American doesn’t see the true devastation this fire has caused. These people didn’t just lose their homes and some grass. They lost everything. Those cattle—that grass—-it’s their livelihood. Some of those cows could’ve been ones that have been passed down generation to generation through genetics and replacement programs. Those cows may have been as special to that rancher as most dogs are to their owners in the world today.
We often get ran in the ground by misinformed consumers. Take the pain of losing a family pet and multiply that by however many head of cattle these ranchers had. That is their pain. What that misinformed consumer sees as a cow who is given antibiotics and never sees green grass is actually a cow that is taken care of like she is a pet.
I wish I could load up every single misinformed consumer and take them on a tour of the full process from the time the calf hits the ground to the time it is being served with a side of fries on their plate. We are open and willing to show them. We are open to show them how well we take care of our animals. I pray that when my children are my age that the gap between the consumer and the production of their food is much smaller then it is today. If we keep Agvocating I believe it will be.
After finding this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf I won’t lie I looked at most of her posts on Facebook. I don’t know this woman but after reading her most recent posts, I want to be her friend. Her and a group of people have been trucking hay into the panhandle. Her posts are powerful and meaningful. She begs drivers to be respectful to the CONVOYS of trucks hauling hay bound for these communities that so desperately need it.
The fact that there are CONVOYS of hay headed already into the aftermath of this fire speaks volumes as to the type of people ranchers and rural Americans are. Our industry, our people, we are RESILIENT. I can’t even seem to find the right words right now to describe this glorious industry and the people it contains.
I read a post this morning from a lady who said she had stumbled across multiple ranchers who were already out of ammunition to continue to put the rest of their stock down that wasn’t going to pull through and the day was just beginning. Could you imagine? I can’t. I couldn’t imagine pulling the trigger on that many of my own cows strictly because that was better then watching them suffer. It would be hard but anyone in this industry would do it, if put in that situation—because we genuinely care for our stock.
I haven’t heard a number or percentage of cattle that has been lost to these fires. Like most ranchers, I don’t think they want to hear that number. I wish I had the financial means to help these ranchers but I don’t. Instead I will pray and use my words to spread their message to spread their story to those that need to hear it. I wish I could do more.
Today they had the first funeral for one of the men who lost his life protecting what he loved……I read the following story about his wife and his children. I cried yet again.
Ranchers lost their lives protecting their stock yet they are still viewed as treating their animals with cruelty.
Young ranchers lost their lives….CONVOYS of hay headed to the aftermath of the fire…Ranchers having to put down what remaining stock they do have…..grass that is now just ashes…babies with burnt bodies missing their moms….momma cows bawling for their babies who they lost in the fire….
Pray for our country who doesn’t give respect where respect is due………
God knows if I saw a convoy of trucks headed west hauling hay…….I would be bawling my eyes out…..I would be crying for those who have lost everything and I would be crying because I am so gosh darn PROUD to be part of an industry that will bend over backwards for each other.
Rural America may be covered in ashes now…….but that won’t hurt our industry. What does hurt our industry is the misinformed consumer who makes their choices off assumptions and misleading information. I am begging anyone that enjoys a hamburger every now and then to open their eyes. If we gave up…..there would no longer be an american staple on the menu. It would be a sight to see if the American rancher disappeared off the earth and we were left to raise a calf from start to finish…..I think the world would be full with a heck of a lot more vegetarians because they wouldn’t have the tenacity to do what the American Rancher does.
So out of the ashes……will walk the American Rancher because you can’t stop them from doing what they love. They will face every adversity thrown at them and keep doing what they do because they love what they do that much. So the next bite you take out of a hamburger at your favorite restaurant–think of that rancher who just lost his son because he was tending to that burger you are eating—think of that rancher who just had to kill the last of his stock because it was the humane thing to do…….think of that rancher who has been hit with fire, disease, market prices plummeting , rain and storms, consumers bad mouthing his practices and just about everything under the sun…….think about how passionate she/he must be to want to continue doing what they do…….
THINK ABOUT THE AMERICAN RANCHER…..BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEY NEED ALL THE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS WE CAN GIVE THEM……..